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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Dalai Lama to attend Czech rights meeting: spokesman

August 21, 2009

August 19, 2009

NEW DELHI -- Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai
Lama, will visit the Czech Republic next month
for a conference on democracy and human rights in
Asia, his spokesman said Tuesday.

Tibetan officials said they were bracing for
China's reaction to the Nobel Peace Prize
winner's planned participation in the conference
in Prague followed by a visit to neighbouring Slovakia.

"China will protest at anything," spokesman
Tenzin Taklha said by telephone from the Tibetan
leader's home in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamsala.

Filip Sebek, one of the organisers of the
conference, said the two-day conference, titled
"Peace, Democracy and Human Rights in Asia", would begin on September 10.

"We are praying against China raking up another
row over the visit by His Holiness," said a
senior member of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

In March, the 73-year-old monk was denied a visa
by South Africa after being invited to a peace
conference of Nobel laureates in that country.

The South African government admitted its
decision was taken to avoid undermining relations
with China, which reacts angrily to any country hosting the Dalai Lama.

Taklha said the Dalai Lama will kick off a
five-day European tour on September 7 with a
visit to Slovakia, where he will attend a private function.

It will be the Dalai Lama's second trip to the
former Soviet satellite since December 2008.

The Dalai Lama has lived in India since escaping
a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.

The saffron-robed Buddhist monk is reviled by the
Chinese government, which has branded him a
"monster" and accused him of trying to split the nation -- a charge he denies.
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